Top 10 Most Insane Movie Stunt Footage

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Top 10 Most Insane Movie Stunt Footage

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These stunts will have you on the edge of your seat. For this list, we'll be looking at the craziest and most shocking action scenes ever captured for a movie. Our countdown includes “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, “Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol”, “Ben-Hur”, and more!
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Top 10 Insane Footage of Dangerous Movie Stunts


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 insane footage of dangerous movie stunts.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the craziest and most shocking action scenes ever captured for a movie.

Would you perform any of these? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: A Stunning Helicopter Maneuver

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
Since “Terminator 2” is full of CGI wizardry throughout, it can be hard to appreciate the practical stunts. But real life is oftentimes more fascinating than computers. In the movie’s climactic chase along the Long Beach Freeway, the T-1000 flies a helicopter underneath an overpass. Not only is it dark at the time, but the helicopter is sandwiched in such a precarious position that any small movement either up or down could result in disaster. Stunt pilot Charles Tamburro flew the helicopter under the overpass at a speed of 70 miles per hour. He only had about four feet of clearance on either side. Since the stunt seemed so dangerous to the camera crew, James Cameron shot the scene himself. Fortunately, everyone went home safely.

#9: Pole Cats Swing Into the Action

“Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)
During the final chase scene of “Mad Max: Fury Road”, the so-called Pole Cats swing around on massive poles dozens of feet in the air. While this could have easily been performed in front of a green screen, director George Miller and action unit director Guy Norris made it real. Norris brought in a Cirque du Soleil performer to train the stunt team on pole work. Each of the people we see onscreen really climbed the poles and performed while traveling at fifty miles per hour. In order to capture this awesome work, Miller set up multiple cameras. This incredible choreographed five minute routine remains as one of the most stunning parts of the film.


#8: Rocket Powered Stunt

“Hooper” (1978)
This action comedy was a love letter to movie stunts that definitely honors the profession. It contained many amazing sequences that will still leave viewers shaking their heads in disbelief. Although it served as a fictionalized re-telling of the life of stuntman Buddy Joe Hooker, he personally conducted its most insane stunt for real. Hooker got inside of a rocket-powered car to do a mind bending 325 feet jump. Once he landed safely on the other side, he could proudly say that his stunt broke the world record for the longest rocket-powered car jump. This scene also confirmed Hooker’s status as the greatest movie stuntman of all time.

#7: Corkscrew Jump

“The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974)
While regarded as a lower-tier James Bond film, “The Man with the Golden Gun” contains what could very well be the greatest stunt of the entire franchise. This legendary vehicle scene was performed in an AMC Hornet driven by Loren Willert. In just one take, he jumped the car off a specially-built ramp, turned it a full 360 degrees over a river, and landed it perfectly on the other side. Willert was reportedly given a $30,000 bonus for completing the stunt in one take. Not even an atrocious slide whistle sound effect could ruin it. (xref) If this scene has you hungry for more practical Bond action, check out the spectacular helicopter stunts in “For Your Eyes Only”.

#6: Zoe Bell Hangs on Tight

“Death Proof” (2007)
Quentin Tarantino’s loving nod to ‘70s grindhouse cinema and exploitation films culminates in an electrifying 20-minute car chase. And like the movies that inspired him, Tarantino filmed it all for real. The director cast stuntwoman Zoë Bell to pull off this climactic chase sequence. When her character clung desperately to the hood of the car, she actually strapped herself to the car. Watching Bell hang on as the car barreled down the highway at high speeds was incredible. Although Tarantino offered his star another stuntwoman for the more dangerous parts, she insisted on doing action scenes even if her face wasn’t visible. The result couldn’t have been more sweat-inducing.

#5: Scaling the Burj Khalifa

“Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol” (2011)
The plane stunt in “Rogue Nation” was incredibly breathtaking. (xref) But the image of Tom Cruise dangling from a building thousands of feet in the air is iconic. During the film, his Ethan Hunt character is forced to climb outside of the Burj Khalifa. While Cruise was securely fashioned to the Burj Khalifa with cables, the stunt is still incredibly courageous. The actor literally ran and swung on the surface of the world’s tallest buildings around 2,000 feet above the ground. With no safety net or deck to break his potential fall, this is by far one of the most memorable stunts in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.


#4: The Pole Slide

“Police Story” (1985)
At the end of “Police Story,” Chan jumps from a balcony and catches a pole in mid-air. That would be more than risky enough to qualify him for this list. However, while sliding from that great height, he breaks through numerous electric lights and crashes through a glass ceiling. Fortunately, Chan has a prop waiting at the bottom. The stunt was captured from multiple camera angles and repeated three times in the movie itself so that viewers got their full money’s worth. Although Chan actually burned his palms from sliding down the hot pole, he kept filming after this action scene. There’s a reason many consider this actor to be a bonafide legend.

#3: A Grand Chariot Race

“Ben-Hur” (1959)
“Ben-Hur’s” chariot race looks positively spectacular to this day. The 18 acre set it was performed on was one of the largest of the time. After preparing for a full year, filming lasted five weeks. The production used actual dynamite to blow up some chariot wheels. And the horses ran over 200 miles throughout the five weeks. If all that wasn’t staggering enough to think about, star Charlton Heston took chariot driving lessons to throw himself in the middle of the action. Although it's rumored that a stuntman died while filming this sequence, that’s fortunately never been proven. But the action scene was definitely still as dangerous and jaw-dropping as it looks.

#2: The Clock Tower Fall

“Project A” (1983)
Two years before “Police Story,” Jackie Chan performed what could arguably be considered his greatest stunt. Chan dangles from a clock tower sixty feet in the air before letting go, crashing through two canopies, and slamming into the hard ground below. There was also no safety net to catch Chan as he fell. He reportedly performed the stunt three different times before he was satisfied. After his incredibly risky actions, two different takes appear in the movie. One shows him landing directly on his neck and another has him landing on his side. While both takes looked painful, we’re happy Chan walked away and was able to keep doing what he loved.

#1: Keaton Avoids a Falling Building Facade

“Steamboat Bill, Jr.” (1928)
Nearly one hundred years after Buster Keaton appeared in “Steamboat Bill, Jr.”, he still holds the title for being in one of the most stunning scenes ever. While you might’ve seen parodies and homages to this iconic stunt before, it’s worth going to the original. The scene in question sees an entire building facade crash to the ground while Keaton stands in the perfect spot to avoid getting hit. Prior to the stunt, the window was perfectly measured to account for Keaton’s frame so the two ton facade could fall without injuring him. If Keaton was just a few inches off his precarious mark, he would have been squashed like a bug. We’re thankful he safely did a stunt that still blows our minds today.
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